The common name for this beautiful maple is apt. Acer rubrum is one of the most widespread trees in eastern North America but this particular young specimen, planted in 2011, is growing at the entrance to FOTA House. It’s living up to its name “October Glory” and stands out among the other trees there, showing off at this time of year.
This oval-shaped tree is beautiful all year round, with small red flowers in spring, distinctive leaves, reddish seeds and even red stalks and twigs.
But it comes into its own now, when it gets its autumn colour branch by branch, some in August, more in September and the rest in October. In this part of the world, depending on its growing condition, it may have more of a pinkish/orange tinge compared to the blaze of red colour in the US. According to www.sciencemadesimple.com, ” The bright reds and purples we see in leaves are made mostly in the autumn. In some trees, like maples, glucose is trapped in the leaves after photosynthesis stops. Sunlight and the cool nights of autumn cause the leaves to turn this glucose into a red colour.”
Most acers like reasonably moist conditions and this helps them hold onto their leaves for longer. They like shelter.
They grow to around 50 ft and lives for around 150 years. Apart from forests, it does well in suburban settings, as it’s quite tolerant of pollution, as long as it has enough room for its roots. But its horizontal roots can cause problems with paving nearby.
Given how dry this autumn has been, we’re happy to have our acer still in leaf.
It’s obviously a happy tree.